Repentance and Forgiveness
Matthew 3:1-2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Immediately preceding the introduction of Christ Jesus ,John the Baptist preached in the area near Jericho. He was encouraging the people to “repent”, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. John recognized the people were going in the wrong direction. He was saying, I baptize you with water unto repentance. Water baptism was an outward act of an inward change being carried out.
John was only a forerunner for our Lord and savior, Christ Jesus. When Jesus came to John to be baptized it was signifying the greatest moment in human history thus far, the beginning of the earthly ministry of Christ Jesus.
This baptizing of Jesus was to testify of his death, burial and resurrection. He had no sin to repent of, but instead foreshadowed His death and resurrection. The symbolism for us is death to sin, and being resurrected in the life to follow Christ. As Jesus came up out of the water, he came up praying. The heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. Heaven had been closed to man since the fall in the garden of Eden. Now through Jesus it would open up.
That being said, what then is the purpose of repentance and baptism for the repentance of sin? Some see repenting as telling God that you are sorry for your sins, asking him to forgive you. That is NOT repenting, that is confessing. The word repent is translated as “metanoeó”. This word begins with “meta” which is the same beginning as words like “metamorphosis”. It means to change. The second part is “noeo” (pronounced NAY-0”). This means your inner philosophy, or the way you understand something. To repent, your inner understanding, and true heart feelings about something must change. It will result in a change of behavior. Instead of continuing in sin, you see it as God sees in and every part of your being is committed to never doing that sin again.
The way we are forgiven is by true repentance. There is no forgiveness of sin without it. Never say you have no sin in your heart, the word says different.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The word ‘all” represents all humans saved and unsaved. Even the most righteous among us continue to come short of the glory, or the perfectness, of God every moment of every day. Why, because we live in a flesh body, in a corrupt world that is under Satan’s deception and wickedness.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The devil says I come to steal and destroy. He does this by convincing you that you do not need to repent of your sins. Without true repentance, you cannot claim forgiveness. Jesus says, I come that you might have life and life in abundance by recognizing our sins and repenting of them so that they may be forgiven and we will have life with Him.
Luke 24:47-48 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name. There are not a lot of preachers that are teaching repentance from their pulpit. We need to present God’s method of proclaiming His word and carrying out His will, any other method is unscriptural. God’s plan of salvation is for all regardless of race color or culture. It is meant for the whole world.
We are a witness of these things through the written word of God. Christianity was not begun due to enlightened philosophy as with some religions. It was begun by men and women who witnessed the incarnate son of God in all his earthly ministry, as well as his death and resurrection. They saw it happening and they testified to it.
2 Peter 3:9 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
If you are wondering why God lets people continue to sin, it is here in this verse. Sometimes God delays the fulfillment of His promises for the purpose of getting more people into the Kingdom of God. God is long suffering, or patient, with man, hoping man will reach a place of repentance.
The dispensation of the cross has been the longest of all and it is because God keeps calling sinners to be saved. He made a way by allowing Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross which is the finished work of Christ Jesus for all to be saved. Sadly, some refuse to repent and accept the way of the cross, they continue in their sin and do not repent.
Now that you understand the purpose of repentance you might think: but brother Andy when I had a conversion change by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior didn’t that remove all my sins? Past, present and future sins? Yes, if your conversion experience was a heartfelt meaningful meeting with the Lord, your conversion will do that ,because when you sin, the Holy Spirit will convict, or teach you about your sin so you can repent and change.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
When at the time you were saved all your sins were set apart from you. that is called sanctified, which means as if you had never sinned. At this time your spirit was sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Now your spirit can not sin, however you still live in a flesh body in a corrupt world. You still have human desires and weaknesses. You are made up of body-soul-and spirit. Your spirit has been sealed and can’t sin but your soul and physical body can and will sin.
This is the reason we need to repent every day of our lives. When you make Jesus the Lord of your life you will be in a battle with the world the flesh and the devil. You will be faced with many temptations, and give in to some. Some days, I must repent multiple times. I want my Lord and God to know I love him and am sorry for sinning.
When we sin and repent, God puts our sins in a sea for forgetfulness and they are gone forever. We already have the victory because of Jesus’ death on the cross. I have confidence that you and I will win this battle by the grace of God. Jesus walks with us no matter what is going on in our lives.
Continue to seek the Holy Spirit, so He can help you see when you need to repent, and continue to thank God. The word tells us to pray unceasingly. I believe you can do this. Remember the battle is already won.
Stay in the word,